By Joshie Jaxon
Trick or treat, geek fans! This is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s not so damn hot, and candy is readily available everywhere. Ok, it’s available year-round, but Halloween specials aren’t. Neither is the chance to dress up and have fun as an adult. Granted, I have fun all year, but I’m one if those weird people your parents warned you about as a kid. Anyhow, today’s post, if you couldn’t tell from the title, will be on Garfield’s Halloween special, which is now 30 years old. Normally I’d lament about feeling old, but I’m high on Garfield and candy, candy, candy, candy! Let the geeks begin!
We open on casa de kitty, where our titular feline, Garfield, is sleeping. There’s a test pattern on the tv. Kids, a test pattern is what they would put up when the station ended broadcasting for the day. Yes, television didn’t used to be the 24/7 500+ channel event it is today. The station begins it’s programming, and Binky the Clown wakes Garfield with his signature, Heeeeeey, kids! Time for jumping jacks with Binky! If you don’t exercise, you’ll grow up to be worthless! I hate you Binky! Then Binky calls us all losers. How did this clown get a show? Garfield shuts him off, but realizes that Binky had just said something about candy, and struggles through all five channels to find him again. Yes, five whole channels. The horror! Cue the opening song as Garfield dances around the house to the credits, before returning to bed. He loves Halloween. No pine needles in his paws. No dumb bunnies. No fireworks. No relatives. Just candy.
Garfield wakes later to properly greet the day. He’s excited for all the candy, candy, candy, candy! Steady yourself, Garfield. First, you need a costume. Then you’ve gotta get a sack for all that candy, candy, candy, candy! Easy, boy. Garfield walks to the kitchen with his blanket over him. Jon is busy scooping seeds, after having carved a pumpkin. Garfield scares the bejesus out of him, and the pumpkin winds up on his head. Jon asks why he can’t stay mad at him. The answer is, “cause I’m a cat”. Truer words were never spoken. Jon says the pumpkin is ruined, and pulls it off his head. It promptly lands on Odie’s. Garfield mistakes pumpkin glop for lasagna and has a bite. Jon tells him what he ate, and he spits it out, and drops the bowl on the floor. Cats really are jerks. Jon offers him a proper breakfast. Garfield leaves. Then comes back for the sweet roll. Then the bacon and croissant. Then he just takes the whole damn tray. Good kitty. Cut to pumpkin Odie drinking from his dish. Blanket Garfield tries to scare him too, but instead he gets scared by the pumpkin-headed dog. He tells Odie that it’s not nice to scare people. Then he breaks into his stand up routine. Odie is so dumb, he’d have to stand on a chair to raise his IQ. He’s ugly too, it would take two of him to get any uglier. He’s so ugly, he wouldn’t need a mask to go trick of treating. Wait! If he takes Odie with him, then he can have two sacks of candy, candy, candy! Garfield, you’re a genius. He tells Odie that Halloween is a night where dogs help cats get candy, and if they do a good job, they get a piece of candy for themselves. He gets Odie worked up like he’s about to throw a tennis ball, while on a car ride. First things first, costumes. To the attic! Garfield breaks the fourth wall to tell us there are times he actually loves that dog.
Attic of Jon’s future Hoarder’s episode. Garfield opens a box to find Jon’s bow tie, sunglasses, cousin Wanda’s wig, aunt Orpha’s false teeth, Roy Ogle’s root, string, sealing wax, all being tossed at Odie. Garfield turns to see him covered in everything, and jumps. Odie doesn’t look half bad. Garfield makes him take it off, and they continue their search. He finds the mother load in a trunk. Time for a musical number. What’ll I be? There’s so many sides to me. I know the feeling, kitty. So many sides of ourselves that we want to express, so few opportunities to do so. At the end of the song, Garfield says he has the perfect costumes for them. Cut to Garfield walking to the kitchen dressed as a pirate, complete with peg leg. Garfield stabs Jon’s lasagna, and claims it for himself. Odie appears with four peg legs, and Garfield removes them. Jon says they look ridiculous. Garfield says he’s killed for less than that, but let’s Jon live, as he’s the only one who changes the kitty litter. You’d think with as anthropomorphized as he is, Garfield could use and flush a toilet. Jon gives Garfield & Odie each a sack, and tells them not to be out late. Jim Davis has a very blurred line on their reality.
Without “parental” escort, Garfield and Odie venture out into the night. Garfield sings a piratey song as they travel. Odie invades his personal space, cause he’s scared. Garfield tells him that it’s just kids like them that are out trick or treating, and that there’s nothing to be afraid of. He pulls the mask off of one to prove it. Garfield starts in on a song about not being a scaredy cat. To punctuate that line, he lifts a mask or costume, sees something scary, screams, and runs around it a few times before taking off. It’s worth pointing out that all of these kids are his size. Even on hind legs, Garfield can’t be more than two feet tall. Kids that size shouldn’t be out on Halloween alone, even if it is the 80’s. Anyhow, they reach the first house, and knock. Garfield says, gimme. The lady says you kids look great, and gives them each one piece of candy. How stupid are people in this universe? Clearly they’re a cat and dog in costume. Garfield points his wooden sword at her, and says if she’s not generous, he’ll go after her drapes. Several more pieces of candy fly at them. Again, cat and dog. No speaky English out loud. In print, Garfield speaks in thought bubbles we can read. No person in-universe should be able to understand him. Yes, that’s where I draw the line for my suspension of disbelief. Thank you for listening. Where was I? Oh yes, montage of Garfield and Odie getting lots of candy.
Garfield says they should go across the river and try those houses. Then he wonders if he’s being too greedy, and missing the spirit of Halloween. Nah! Odie just shakes his head. The two take a rowboat, and try to cross the river. Not rowing at all, they’re at the mercy of the current. Garfield tells Odie to put out the oars, and Odie, being a literal dog, puts them in the river. Garfield says he’d walk the plank, if he had one. He laments being a pirate, and says when he gets back to land, he’s giving it up to just be a normal house cat. Odie interrupts his wallowing to point out an island. There’s a spooky looking mansion, and then the thunder claps. Another fourth wall break to say, nice touch. They leave their sacks in the boat, and go peek in the window. There’s a fire going, and Garfield suggests they investigate. He tries to kick the door open first. Um, he was just commenting someone probably lives there, now he’s kicking in their door? Bad kitty! Oh wait, he failed. The door creeks open, and without moving beyond the doorway, Garfield concludes the place is deserted. Then who lit the fire, eh, tough cat? The duo decide to warm themselves by said fire. Garfield turns, and there’s an old man in the chair! They’re so frightened, even the skull on the pirate hat screams.
Garfield and Odie grab one another as the old man tells them to calm down, lest their carrying on stops his old heart. He tells them they picked a bad night to visit, and this could be the worst night of their lives. What he’s about to tell them has never been told to another living soul. Garfield says it’s a catchy beginning. The old man says the island holds a dark, 100 year old secret. That island is where a group of pirates buried their treasure. They had signed a contract, written in blood, vowing to return for the treasure 100 years later, Halloween night, at the stroke of midnight, even if it meant returning from the grave. Thunder claps. Garfield doesn’t believe it. The old man says to believe. The pirates had a ten year old cabin boy. HE was that cabin boy. He never took the treasure. They’d find him. They know who they are, and that they’re in the house. Garfield says he’s ready to leave. He turns to ask the old man if he wants to come too, but he’s gone. They go to the door to see him rowing away. Rats! There goes the boat! Rats! There goes the candy! My boat’s gone. My candy’s gone. Dead pirates are coming any minute. It’s past my bedtime. I wanna go home. I love that cat.
Midnight tolls on the grandfather clock. Garfield and Odie run back to the front door, and see a ghostly ship approaching the island. Chalky ghost pirates rise from the water and head towards the house. Garfield says they need to hide, since “they know where we are”. Good plan. Odie tries to hide in flowers. Garfield makes them hide in a cupboard. The ghost pirates enter the house, and circle the floor, before going under it. The floor cracks, and the treasure appears. The floor is then magically restored. Odie sneezes, and they’re discovered by one of the ghosts.
They flee, and reach the dock. With their boat gone, Garfield says they have to swim for it, and they both dive. Then he remembers that he can’t swim. Garfield goes down, and his hat stays afloat. Odie swims over to it, and looks inside for Garfield before tossing it away. Stupid dog. Then we see Garfield trying to grab a branch to stop himself, but it breaks. Maybe he should cut down in the lasagna. Odie dives down and retrieves the poor kitty from the water. They reach the shore, and Garfield takes Odie by the paw and says he owes him one. The old man was right. It was the worst night of his life. He’s had nightmares that look like birthday parties compared to it. They begin to walk off, and see the boat, complete with candy. Garfield comments that the pirates can have the treasure, he wants the candy, candy, candy, candy.
Back at home, Garfield says he’s going to do something out of character. Since Odie saved his life 18 zillion times, Garfield is going to give him something of personal worth, and sacrifice on his part, his own half of the candy. Odie barks in appreciation. Yeah, yeah, I love you too, now go away. A cat after my own heart. Garfield says he’s wired, and turns on the tv. There the old man, in Garfield’s pirate hat, saying it’s time for a pirate movie festival. Garfield decides he’s actually tired, grabs his bear, Pookie, pulls the blanket over him, and goes to sleep. Credits.
That’s just as good as I remember it from back in the day. That’s why I make it an annual viewing staple; even before the great pumpkin. Don’t worry, that one’s coming up. Until next tomb, slay geeky, and keep candy, candy, candy, candy!